Welcome to the final stretch, mama! At week 28, you've officially reached the last trimester of your pregnancy. During the final months, you may find yourself curious about what your little peanut is up to. Unfortunately, you may not be able to see him because many doctors and midwives will not perform any third trimester ultrasounds unless deemed necessary. Not to worry though, your baby is working hard to get prepared for the big day, which will be here before you know it. In the meantime, here are some notes on what to expect in your third trimester. Weeks 28-40 may be the most challenging, but trust me, they're worth it.
At this point, most of your baby's major organs are developed and they will spend the rest of the time maturing until delivery. Your baby will spend this time gaining weight and adding some finishing touches to her development. By week 28, your baby can open her eyes, rocks a mean set of lashes and a fresh pair of nails.
Throughout the next few weeks, billions of neurons are developing in your baby's brain and new neural connections are being made everyday. His bones will continue to harden and he is soaking up all of those nutrients, so don't forget about those prenatal vitamins and do not skimp on the calcium rich foods. Remember, it is recommended that you have between 1,000 and 1,300 mg of calcium a day.
The hair covering your baby's body (lanugo) will shed between 32 and 36 weeks, while her wrinkly skin begins to smooth out as she packs on the pounds. Your baby's weight will triple this trimester, which means a little more discomfort for mommy. As your belly swells, those kicks and punches will feel a lot harder; however, as things become more crowded in there, you will notice a slight decrease in fetal activity.
As your belly grows, it may knock you off balance a bit, so it is possible to experience a sudden case of clumsiness. Your growing baby will begin to put pressure on your diaphragm, which may lead to a shortness of breath. Luckily, when he switches positions and puts his head down, you will feel a relief in the breathing department. Unfortunately, this means you will also feel an increase in pelvic and yes, bladder pressure. Stay close to the bathroom!
Your digestive system is likely to be impacted as well, as the pressure also exists here. This could potentially lead to heartburn and constipation. This constipation, along with increased pressure within the veins, may lead to hemorrhoids. No worries, these will go away. With your growing belly, you may be sporting a few more physical changes including an 'outie' bellybutton, continued breast growth, varicose veins and stretch marks. Rock those tiger stripes girl!
You may find it difficult to sleep due to discomfort and fatigue is probably at an all time high. Other pregnancy symptoms you may experience include aches and pains, leaky breasts and swollen ankles and/or feet. Just mentally prepare for all these changes, they're only temporary.
Hours, days or even weeks before labor, you will lose your mucus plug which is thick, stringy, and sometimes bloody. Do not be alarmed! Although vaginal discharge has increased, if you experience any leaking of a watery substance, call your doctor immediately. This could possibly be amniotic fluid, your water does not always come gushing out at once. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Although many pregnancy symptoms are not favorable, take this time to get things ready for the baby. Finish setting up the nursery, choose a pediatrician, set up a birth plan and pack a bag for the hospital. Most importantly, take some time to kick your feet up and relax. Maybe even sing your baby a lullaby or two, as she is preciously enjoying the sound of your voice inside of the womb.
You may not go into labor on your due date, which is perfectly fine. Some doctors will let you reach 41-42 weeks before they will induce labor. Try not to get too impatient, although it can be hard no to. You will soon come to understand the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions.
Try some fun things in the meantime. Write your baby a letter, get in another maternity shoot or read up on labor, delivery and post-delivery so you are aware of what will occur. This is such an amazing experience, make sure you soak in every moment of it.